Houston Food Trucks Are On a Roll
Pure deliciousness at El Ultimo Tacos, photo by Amy Pengra
Pure deliciousness at El Ultimo Tacos, photo by Amy Pengra
The Happy Endings food truck, photo by Amy Pengra
Bernies food truck, photo by Amy Pengra
BDL dog, photo by Amy Pengra
Kimcheesefries, photo by Amy Pengra
I recently relocated to my hometown of Houston after a nine-year defection in Los Angeles. Houston and LA are cities thick with traffic, foodies and international flavor. Those factors bode well for food trucks, which cater to car culture, culinary variety and on-the-go eating. As a huge fan of the LA food truck craze (ghosts of grilled cheese past still linger in my floor mats), I couldn’t wait to sample Houston’s take on the mobile food scene.
Drive home happy with these Texan-approved trucks:
Bernie’s award winning fixins’ are served out of a refurbished school bus reminiscent of bygone days. Not much has changed because I still love a tasty burger. Forget turkey or veggie varieties—show me the beef! Thankfully Bernie knows Texans and meat. He also knows bread (the homemade, brioche-like buns had me cheering). Feeling naughty, I started with the “Principal”, which smacks your system with a juicy patty topped with the works (mayo, mustard, homemade ketchup, lettuce, roasted tomatoes, onion, and pickles). It’s a mess of down-home yumminess, so a bib isn’t out of the question. Nostalgic for simpler times and craving a nap? Try the “Pre-Schoolers.” These sliders sport cheddar, ketchup, mustard, and pickles all tucked into tiny buns that lock in big flavor. For extra credit (fat), I devoured the truffle fries dressed with Parmesan and green onions producing an A+ combination of zing and crunch. Other favorites include “The Bully” (two cheese-filled beef patties with Principal ingredients), “Detention” (Principal meat plus trimmings stuffed between two grilled cheese sandwiches) and “Honor Roll” fries (cheddar, BBQ sauce, green onions, bacon and brisket).
Follow them on Twitter @berniesburgers
2. Breakfast Burritos Anonymous
BBA hit the streets this past October, and the Houston-bred owners know their morning stuff. They’re “Taking Care of Breakfast” with locally sourced, scratch-made, comfort breakfasts served from a custom trailer. Build-Your-Own burritos and tacos boast a combination of egg, meat, cheese and veggie ingredients to satisfy both the healthy and not-so-healthy sets. Torch Monday morning blues with tacos or burritos loaded with their signature “Volcano” salsa. Heat sensitive? Don’t worry—BBA offers several homemade sauces and salsas in varying degrees including their zippy jalapeno hollandaise. Breakfast tacos are my go-to wakeup call, so I opted for one guilt-free with egg whites, spinach and green chilies; the other guilt-full with cheddar and sausage. Both tacos set my day in perfect motion. BBA’s menu also offers French toast sandwiches (Nutella, anyone?), fruit bowls and pancake-battered (!!) sausages. Good morning, indeed.
Follow them on Twitter @BBAMobile
This Austin-based truck now has a presence in Houston and was voted Best Food Truck in Texas in February 2012 by Smithsonian Magazine. The “Mexican Cuisine with Korean in between” delivers another unique mobile menu. “Coreanos” means “Koreans” in Spanish, so the name is fitting to describe their fusion offerings of Korean BBQ and traditional Mexican fare. Their signature “Og burrito” (marinated beef short rib, French fries, Korean slaw, onion, cilantro, caramelized kimchi, sesame oil vinaigrette, and garlic sauce stuffed into a homemade tortilla) is offensively good. I also wolfed down two tacos (chicken and pork belly), both with onion, cilantro, and slaw. For sauces, choose between their sesame oil vinaigrette or the “el scorcho” sauce, which is el-HOT-o! So if you’re sensitive, request a side for controlled dipping. I was almost on my knees, but I always make room for fries, especially when they include a clever play on words: “Kim Cheese.” Yes, please. These bad boys are loaded with spicy, twice-cooked pork belly, el scorcho sauce, caramelized kimchi, and cheese. Ka-pow, Amigo!
Follow them on Twitter @coreanosHTX
This truck sits in a strip mall lot on the West side of Houston, which is a bit off the grid for tourists. But it’s worth the hike. Their fixed location (as opposed to a rambling schedule of multiple stops) is a bonus when a hankering for Tex-Mex strikes. Start with no frills hits like the homemade tacos – a mandatory Texas food group. Fajita steak comes nestled in a homemade flour tortilla with fresh cilantro, grilled onions and sliced avocado. Their el pastor (pork) taco featured the same trimmings on a homemade corn tortilla. Both tacos made me swoon and melt. They were so fresh and hot that I burned my fingers plowing into their foil wrappers. It was torture waiting for them to cool down, but my patience paid off. Their menu also includes burritos, quesadillas, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), tostadas, flautas and homemade fruit frescas and aguas.
5. Happy Endings
When I Googled “Happy Endings Houston” I got a little more than I bargained for—don’t forget to specify “food truck.” But the name has its perks. They work hard for the money with a unique menu that satisfies cravings, particularly the late-night ones. To begin your own happy ending, choose your poison: 100% beef hotdog or burger. Then select from myriad toppings to pair with meat surrounded by soft Hawaiian bread. Their signature “BDL” combo includes kimchi, cream cheese, green onions, katsu sauce, sriracha, Japanese mayo, and bacon bits. This unique array of flavors produces a tasty, albeit messy finish (napkins, ya’ll). Eggs rolls are often a mystery and when they’re big, I get scared. (Size matters.) But HE’s are tiny, fried bundles of goodness with nothing sneaky thrown in. I didn’t think I could go another round, but the BBQ Pork buns came calling. After a loaded hotdog and a pounding of baby eggrolls, I opted for steamed over fried and they sealed the deal. At HE’s, you’ll be satisfied with the beginning, middle and end.
Follow them on Twitter @happyendingsHTX
Chi’lantro – @ChiLantroHTX
Fire House Tacos – @firehousetaco
Oh, My Pocket Pies – @ohmypocketpies
Melange Creperie – @melangecreperie
Waffle Bus – @thewafflebus
What’s Up, Cupcake – @whatupcupcake
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